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What substrate should I use???

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by irena, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    Hello again, it me with more questions....
    I got my light for the tank, the should be here by Tuesday, I can't wait!!! :D The light will be 20” 1x28w Coralife Aqualight PC Hood w/ 1x28w 50/50 lamp, but I will be getting a different light bulb, 6700k or 10000k, and it will be raised. Now my nest step is getting some substrate. I been discussing it with many people, but still not quit sure which will be better for me to get.
    My first choice was Flourite black.
    My second choice was Amazonia II, and it would be a good choice since it does balences the tank from the start. But it is kinda pricey and after I did some more reaserch I found out that a lot of people having problems with the dust issue and getting a bad bags of it. So that is like a big no no for me.

    And then I came across Mineralized Top Soil Substrate, that sounds very good. so the question is should I get MS or flourite balck??? :confused: :confused:
    I was told that there is not much dosing involved with MS, and it just sounds like a better planting medium for plants to me...
    So please someone help me decide what should I go with.... I need to get something it so I can finaly start my tank :D

    Thank you for the help.
     
  2. AABatteries

    AABatteries Junior Poster

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    I would go with the 6700k bulb for plants. Its probably the best option for planted tanks.

    As for substrate, I would go with the black Eco-Complete. I use it in my 30g planted, and it does just fine. Doesn't look too bad either.
     
  3. nerbaneth

    nerbaneth Guest

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    I have tried Eco complete and had some problems with it. There are many little white specs in the substrate that makes it look dirty. It also separates into different sizes of rocks (the large ones at the top and the small ones at the bottom). When you first put it in, it looks much better than a couple months down the road because of this. It also packs down over time giving you less substrate than you started with. Because of this 'packing' the worst effects happen. The substrate cannot breath and goes anaerobic thus killing your roots. The substrate needs to be stirred or poked frequently (once every couple weeks)

    I have minimal experience with fluorite (I set up a friends tank with it and maintain it from time to time.) She has a lot of algae mainly due to too much lighting, lack of co2 and lack of maintenance. I do believe that all fluorite really is is dried and cracked clay with lots of iron in it - other nutrients are minimal if not non-existent.

    I tried mineralized top soil once and it wasn't good. My plants LOVED IT, but the layers kept getting mixed and the MS would dirty the water or float to the top. Unless you are going to go with the Diana Walstead (Spelling?) method I would not use this. This means you can't move your plants once they are planted (I couldn't do that - I move stuff too much) Any time I ever used layering, it failed - and it will fail for you and maybe even Mr. Barr with a well established tank using this substrate. When you do water changes you have to pour REALLY slowly otherwise you stir it up. Overall I would avoid using this ever again unless it was in a pico tank that I could just dump out and replant.

    Then I tried AmazoniaII like everyone on this forum had told me from the start that I should buy. It's the best substrate I've ever used. Get it, you'll love it. It doesn't leech into the water column. It has the correct amount of nutrients in the soil. Just about anything will grow with this, co2, EI, and proper lighting.

    AmazoniaII - buy it or cute kittens around the world will die!

    Just my 2 cents,
    Nerb
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    For most newer folks, the ADA aqua soil I seems good and consistent.
    Some move plants around a lot, but you should plan and not move thing as much and top the plants as they grow, vs up root and move.

    You can use EI and/or leaner dosing with this sediment type, it's in between the two trade offs for MS and say flourite black sand.
    Not as messy as MS for most new folks.

    There are arguments for ferts in each location, but both seem best to me given all the trade offs.

    MS are well founded and work well IME, but the consistency and folks doing all sorts of things, not being careful, mindful when moving plants etc can cause some issues/trade offs some do not wish to bother with.

    I've felt both ways over the years at various times about soils.

    ADA is a step up from that, but cost much more, looks better.

    Flourite is not messy at all, but has little nutrients.

    SMS is similar to flourite, but light weight and harder to add plants to.

    Hard to say what is right for you personally, you need to weigh the various trade offs and do what is good for your habits personally.

    As a new person, you do not know what those habits might be, so it's hard to say fairly or sway you one way or the other.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the reply :)
    I actually just got a 10000k bulb instead of th 50/50 I got. 6700 has more of a yellowish tint to it and I like it more white also my glosso needs high light output to stay low :)

    And I wen't with Mineralized soil for substrate. I really love and my plant6s are doing great. :D
     
  6. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    Haven't heard anything good about Eco complete so thats the one I do not want to try :)

    I have minimal experience with fluorite (I set up a friends tank with it and maintain it from time to time.) She has a lot of algae mainly due to too much lighting, lack of co2 and lack of maintenance. I do believe that all fluorite really is is dried and cracked clay with lots of iron in it - other nutrients are minimal if not non-existent.

    I actually do like flourite, haven't tried it myself yet but I heard good things about it. I'm getting it for my 14g and 55g tanks. :)


    I tried mineralized top soil once and it wasn't good. My plants LOVED IT, but the layers kept getting mixed and the MS would dirty the water or float to the top. Unless you are going to go with the Diana Walstead (Spelling?) method I would not use this. This means you can't move your plants once they are planted (I couldn't do that - I move stuff too much) Any time I ever used layering, it failed - and it will fail for you and maybe even Mr. Barr with a well established tank using this substrate. When you do water changes you have to pour REALLY slowly otherwise you stir it up. Overall I would avoid using this ever again unless it was in a pico tank that I could just dump out and replant.

    This is the one I actually ended up getting! I LOVE it, my plants love it. I don't have any problems that you mentioned. I'm using color quartz T grade sand on it and it's perfect. My water from the begining was very clear. I moved my plants change water with no problems and without any cloudness, puring water slow is not such a big deal I do it with any kind of gravel or substrate.

    Then I tried AmazoniaII like everyone on this forum had told me from the start that I should buy. It's the best substrate I've ever used. Get it, you'll love it. It doesn't leech into the water column. It has the correct amount of nutrients in the soil. Just about anything will grow with this, co2, EI, and proper lighting.

    AmazoniaII - buy it or cute kittens around the world will die!

    I don't know about Amazonia, I hear mixed reviews about it. I think it's just a fancy flourite LOL And I seen tanks set up with it the water looks more cloudy than a tank set up with MS, I know the cloudness goes away but my tank looked clear minutes after being set up with MS. It's way overpriced too IMO. But I do want to try it, one day I will but for now I love my MS and will be trying out flourite :D

    Just my 2 cents,
    Nerb[/quote]

    Thanks for your reply.
    I do apreciate your 2 cents :D
     
  7. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    Thanks Tom for the reply :D

    As I said in my previous post I got some Mineralized soil for my tank. And I love it. I do not have any issues that people are talking about. Well it's only been just over a month since I have it. I did not experience any cloudness and don't find it messy... well when I set it up I was covered in dirt but I found it to be fun. My water on the other hand was pretty clear, and completley clear the next day.
    I am not planing to move my plant's too much I planted my plants were I want them to stay. I did a little rescape and I did not experience any problems at all.

    I do want to try out ADA soil one time, but as you said yourself it is a little too expensive, so me trying it out is nowhere in the near future. For my other tanks I will go with flourite black for now.

    Now the only thing I will need to figure out is how dosing with ferts works?How much and what I need to dose my plants with :confused:
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Then this one is the clear winner for you.

    Well, you can have a lot more buffer with MS since it's a source of nutrients, so you can dose say 1/4-1/2 EI dosing if you wish, or less, up to you there.

    You may also go a daily dosing route instead of 2x a week etc, whatever gets you doing things consistently.

    Flourite has little nutrients, so dosing the water column for all things being equal, will be more there.

    ADA AS is going to be around, so you can try that later on if you get around to it.

    Regards,
    tom barr
     
  9. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    Yes MS is a winner. I would set up all my tanks with that but I want to experiment a bit.

    And thats what I said to myself about ADA, it's not going anywhere so I will try it sooner or later :)

    Now I will go and read a bit on dosing and hopefully I will come up with the plan that works for me and my plants.


    Thanks Tom :)
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you want to test sediments type for comparative purposes, a simple aquarist test may be done also.

    As it gets warmer, you can take a 10 or 20 gal, or several.and put glass or plastic clear lids on them, add about 1-2" of water and place 4"-6" pots with different sediments and use 2-3 stems of a single plant of choice. Wait 8-12 weeks and compare rates of growth.

    You should use a fast growing plant(easier/faster to see differences), and start with relatively equal amounts(does not have to be perfect there). I'd used say 4-5 pots with the same sediments and then say 4-8 different sediment types.

    Another way to add 100 grams of sediment to 100mls of water and then add this to an erlymeyer flask and use a piece of sponge to keep the stem in place and make sure the roots have access to the soil/sediment water mix below. Use one with plain sand and another with modified Hoalgand's solution also if you want an upper/lower bound. Sediments will be somewhere in between those.

    So there's 2 fairly simple methods, that get around having another tank inside, water etc, has the same CO2/independent of water column and CO2 issues and algae.

    You just wait a few weeks and compare.

    The plant is the test kit.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. irena

    irena Junior Poster

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    Cool! Thanks so much. You just full of great ideas :D
     
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